When someone hurts your feelings or betrays your trust, it is common to experience a variety of emotions and fester anger for some time. Learning to forgive someone is hard, but it is a necessary step for you to heal and move forward. If your best friend has caused you pain or angered you, acknowledge and accept the hurt as you work toward forgiveness to restore the friendship.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It may take some time, but as you begin to work through feelings of anger, resentment and sadness, you will acknowledge what happened to cause a riff between you and your best friend. According to Sharon Gibson, relationship expert and founder of ConflicttoPeaceinRelationships.com, you have to recognize what you lost before you can let it go and move forward. Own your hurt and understand that your feelings are valid. As you validate what you are feeling, you can begin to cope and work toward forgiveness.
Grieve the Loss
Offering forgiveness does not mean you excuse the hurtful behavior or ignore the pain you feel. Gibson suggests venting, writing about it and talking with trusted friends or a family therapist. Grieve the loss in your own way and then work toward forgiving your best friend by discussing the situation. Ask your friend to understand that you may need time to repair the relationship but that you are willing to put forth the effort. An open and honest conversation can be comforting, especially if you have missed the closeness with your best friend.
Have Realistic Expectations
Even though you have been hurt or betrayed by your best friend, it’s important to understand that everyone is bound to err or inadvertently cause pain to others. As you work toward forgiving your friend, try to have realistic expectations. Instead of expecting things or actions from other people, recognize that you can’t control the behavior of your friends, suggests Fred Luskin, faculty member at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
Shift Your Focus
It can be difficult to forgive and forget if you are still experiencing intense emotions. Luskin suggests shifting your focus from wounded feelings to your fortunes. Look for the kindness in your best friend and focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. When you put more energy into the encouraging and supportive nature of your friend, it will be a little easier to put the past behind you and forgive.